|COLCO (COALITION OF LEAKY CONDO OWNERS)
MINUTES OF MEETING
SEPTEMBER 30, 2000
1. COLCO held its seventh meeting at the Douglas Recreation Centre in Langley.
2. There were over 100 people in attendance.
3. John Grasty called the meeting to order at 1:00pm and welcomed all present.
CHAIRMAN’S REMARKS : On September 13, 1999, a group of about 35 citizens met in Vancouver and the Coalition of Leaky Condo Owners (COLCO) was formed. Since those meager beginnings COLCO has become a focal point and an irritant, constantly in the face of government and developers.
In June COLCO started a web site www.myleakycondo.com and during August it received over 100,000 hits.
COLCO representatives have invited industry professionals and self proclaimed industry experts to explain their claims that the Building Code caused this disaster; there are still no takers.
Developers have spent millions on advertising this past year trying to buy back confidence in the industry that they themselves destroyed. COLCO wonders what correlations there are between record low housing starts and record high bankruptcies and foreclosures? Newly educated and wary consumers are requesting COLCO’s latest Leaky Rotten Condo List in droves. We could possibly have a best seller on our hands. Much to the chagrin of developers, various leaky condo owner groups have participated in legal Walkabouts throughout the summer. COLCO will continue to warn potential buyers using our limited donations and resources.
John recalled some of the motions that were passed at COLCO meetings
over the past year including March’s call for a moratorium on Residential
Construction in Surrey, and April’s motion in Richmond to have the government
declare the situation an official disaster. (please see those meetings’
minutes for details) The question remains, when will governments
understand this is a disaster by their own definition (see web site for
federal government definition of a disaster) and do what it is right for
4. PRESENTATIONS: Dr. James Balderson gave a presentation entitled: Leaky Rotten Condos: More than we ever wanted to know. Dr. Balderson drew links between social Darwinism, social justice, democratic socialism, free enterprise, and consumer activism.
Dr. Balderson reviewed some of the efforts of COLCO over the past
year to measure the scope of the disaster and battle for 100% accountability
Social Darwinism and Justice:
Justice and Democratic Socialism
NHW was owned and controlled by CHBA. A phony trust called
the RCI Residential Construction Institute was created to fend off Revenue
Canada. Their mandate was education, but what courses did they put
on? When asked they claim “we didn’t understand what the problem
was”, so they didn’t run a course on the prevention of leaky rotten condos.
NHW, prior to going bankrupt, had a history of deny, delay and do the minimum.
Bottom line: Consumer Activism
We will have social justice when the province looks after the victims. Leaked, rotted, crumbled buildings drained our pockets.
Questions from the floor to Dr. Balderson
Q. Bill Williams of Chelsea Green (Prime Developments). How many elderly people and veterans in the room? (many) Who has approached veteran’s affairs? A: He encouraged them to contact Ottawa.
Q: A Representative from Meadow Springs in Abbotsford asked
what are the possibilities of getting money from NHW?
Q: Can Builders and Real Estate agents be charged criminally
for knowingly selling leakers (where the building leaks before selling
5. COLCO UPDATES
5.1 Maureen Rhodes gave an update on the upcoming Whistler bus trip,
Communications, and Walkabouts. A bus trip is planned for Whistler
for the October 28 Liberal convention. Call Cathy at 515-9118 to sign up.
Dress up for Halloween in a costume! Alternatively, complexes can
arrange their own buses if the numbers are warranted. COLCO volunteers
do not have the resources to continue mailing and faxing communications
to the ever increasing number of members, therefore COLCO suggests that
members look to the website or the email list for their updates.
5.2 Ian Thompson asked “Is there a representative for MLA's Rich Coleman or Lynn Stephens here? (there no response from the floor; however COLCO acknowledges that federal PC candidates Lee Johnson and Beverly Braaten were present) We understand that Rich Coleman is occupied with a family medical situation, but Lynn Stephens was invited to this meeting and is missing a wonderful opportunity to sit with her constituents and educate herself. Ian urged everyone in the riding to call Lynn and ask her why she isn’t here and asking questions in the house. Call all your MLA’s on Monday. Mr. Buglioni affirmed that Lynn Stephen’s office has indicated that she is not interested in the leaky condo issue.
5.3 Martin Martens gave an update on the Pour-Gee awards. Earlier this year, it became apparent that the Georgie awards were having trouble. COLCO was concerned that the poor builders and developers may go a year without an award ceremony, so COLCO created the Pour-Gee awards. Martin encouraged everyone to go to the website, or mail in a request to nominate a builder, developer etc. Announcement of nominees will be on Nov 25. A vote will be held. Examples of awards include “Malicious Mortgage”, “Flapping Tarp”, “Rusty Nail”.
5.4 Bonnie Sainsbury invited everyone to join the COLCO email list (there is approximately one message per week from the list). Instructions on how to join the list are on the www.myleakycondo.com website.
5.5 Dr. James Balderson gave an update on the October Leaky Rotten Condo list: 500 million in repairs – will be shooting past one billion before long. He encouraged everyone to buy a COLCO umbrella, write letters and help on the political front.
5.6 John Grasty: Simma Holt (an MP in the Trudeau caucus) was recognized by the Chair. Simma has submitted motions for the Liberals to deal with leaky condos at their Convention in Whistler; A public (interdisciplinary academic) symposium on leaky condo research is being put together and ideas are welcome; The Homeowners Protection office (HPO) has been receiving suicide calls from distressed owners of leaky rotten condos. Therefore, crisis line pamphlets have been made available on the table near the entrance of the hall; Media – continue to write letters to media and politicians when you get home. Do it at least once a month.
6.1 Ms. Carmen Maretic, Guest Presenter, President, Compensation and Accountability to Soaked Homeowners (CASH)
CASH is a non-profit organization registered under the BC Society
Act. CASH is a think tank with an action plan to reimburse all soaked
homeowners (condos, co-ops, single family etc) for their repair costs.
CASH believes that the strength our group lies in its numbers. Tens
of thousands of lives have been impacted by the crisis. CASH determined
that 57 of the 79 provincial ridings and 24 of the 34 BC federal ridings
are affected. Most of these seats are won with less than 1,000 votes.
The upcoming elections will give a voice to the owners of leaky homes.
A questionnaire has been developed and sent to each candidate in these
ridings. The questionnaire includes a section which compels each
of the candidates to state their (or the respective parties’) position
on several compensation package options.
CASH recognizes that many owners are too tired to spend any more energy on the leaky home issues. They have devised a simple plan, which only requires the participation of 1% of affected owners. CASH has asked COLCO for support in finding one “captain” per affected building. Each captain will be asked to assist CASH in collecting a toonie per unit. The captains will be responsible to distribute the above questionnaire results and encourage owners to vote in both upcoming elections. CASH will be utilizing a TV commercial to increase awareness and to compel affected owners to become involved.
(The video commercial was shown at the meeting: it began by panning over some exterior tarps, then showing the halls and doorways of an affected building. From behind each door, there are audio clips of the tragedies that are on the other side; losing a home, marriage problems, sickness from the mould etc. Very powerful)
Toonie donations and an upcoming event, “Dancing in the Rain”, will pay for the commercial to be aired. The Dancing in the rain event will be held October 20 in Port Coquitlam. The cost is $50 per person for the dinner and dance and the event is well on its way to being sold out. Tickets can be purchased from Carmen at 469-8539 or more info can be obtained from the www.soakedhomes.com website.
Questions from the Floor:
7.0 ADJOURNMENT at 3:30 pm